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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was fact.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as Conservative MP for Cambridge (Ontario)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 39% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Statistics Canada June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, Statistics Canada has said that the long form census, the national household survey, has yielded high quality data that covers 97%. The Chief Statistician says that the data is robust and contains valuable information.

I encourage the member to speak to Wayne Smith, the Chief Statistician of Canada, who has in fact said that the way we are now doing this form provides quality data and information that is quite useful.

Mining Industry June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, we always work very hard on this side of the House to protect Canadian workers.

We have created jobs, 1.2 million net new jobs. In fact, by reducing taxes across the board some 180 times, we are helping businesses survive and the workers get the funding they need.

We will continue to support Canadians. The opposition wants to raise taxes. That is not only going to kill businesses, it is going to kill jobs, and it is going to hurt a lot of Canadians.

Tourism Industry June 5th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, marketing investments by Destination Canada, formerly the Canadian tourism commission, are paying off. Since January 2014, overnight trips to Canada have increased by over 10%.

As announced by the Prime Minister on May 22, the government is investing another $30 million over three years to Destination Canada's connecting America marketing plan. This kind of funding is needed, but the NDP votes against it every time.

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to sidetrack a bit. I see my colleagues from Kingston and the Islands and from Guelph, whom I know are not running again, and I want to say that it has been great working with them. I see them in the shot there, and it looks great.

As for the member for Winnipeg North, my goodness, what a short memory that gentleman has. I know we are doing research and all kinds of things to do with memory, but it was in the late nineties when the nation faced not even half of the economic crisis that we have faced recently. The Liberals cut funding to science and technology by over 9%, which created what the whole world remembers as the national brain drain.

It was the Liberals who chased the pharmaceutical giants out of this country with their enormous tax policies on corporations. Now we do not have anything happening in this country except maybe the manufacturing of vaccinations. However, the member has his own selective memory.

The member mentioned the idea of open access to federal research. The government has already done this. He already knows about the science, technology and innovation strategy and the open government strategies that have committed to making research available online. I am happy to know that the member obviously supports this government's policy when it comes to open access. Will he now confirm that we are doing something right?

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

But they have not.

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I do get a little frustrated when I hear people simplify what we do with science in Canada. We do not just do basic science, and we do not just do science for the sake of the economy. We actually do all of it, and we should.

I have a good example, and I want to ask the member if he would agree. When we fund scientists to do basic pure-sky, blue-sky discovery research and they discover something, what is wrong with moving that discovery out of the laboratory and into our hospitals or living rooms of the world? We have done that hundreds of times in this country.

As one example, we had a young lady take a discovery that a scientist was not actually looking for. He was looking for something else, so on he went with government money to keep doing his basic research. However, the discovery went off to a young lady in southern Ontario who developed a company around it and hired a ton of people. It was making money and saving a lot of patients with macular degeneration. That is what scientists should be doing. Knowledge that is not used is of no value. We do both in this nation. Why does this member not support our science budgets, at least once?

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague. It is great to hear him speak. Sometimes he does go off on facts that are not actually there.

However, one thing he did talk about was support for post-docs. I am sure he is aware that there is now more support for things like internships, mentorships, apprenticeships and all these different things we have in Canada, more than ever before in the history of the nation.

I am sure he is also aware that when a scientist applies for funding, of course other scientists decide whether that science and that research is valid enough for funding. The government does not do that. However, when scientists apply for hundreds of thousands, or millions, of dollars to do research they can also apply for the equipment to do that research. They can apply for support staff, like post-docs to do their research. They can even apply for the hydro that operates the laboratory. That is how much money is available from our government.

In fact, I want to ask the member, since he claims to support post-docs, would he now support the federal government's budget because in the budget, the Canada Foundation for Innovation would be receiving an additional $1.33 billion over six years. That is exactly the money that would support the post-docs and what the member is complaining about.

The solution is clear. Will he vote for the budget, yes or no?

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect to my colleague, I think it is very sad when members stand who actually have not done their research.

We already have scientific advisers in this government. In fact, we set up the Science, Technology and Innovation Council, which is made up of 18 of the smartest Canadians to be found. This council has presidents of universities and leaders in the research world. Those 18 people advise this government and that advice is available to anyone in the House. It is not one person, that is what we had before. We have improved on that. Not one person advising the government on every aspect of science, but 18 of the smartest people this country can provide in a council that is available to the Minister of State for Science and Technology, available to the government and its reports are, guess what, published and open to the public to read any time they want.

One of the points my colleague previously mentioned that is worth pointing out is that Canada has 0.5% of the population of the world. We publish over 4% of the world's published articles in the scientific community. We punch way above our weight. A couple of years ago a survey was done with 5,000 of the world's top scientists and they said Canada science and technology is the strongest it has ever been and I totally agree.

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, gobbledygook and of course people can use statistics any way they want. But here are the statistics that my friend should know.

When I took over the portfolio of minister of state for science and technology in about 2008, the last year of the Liberal government was spending less than $5 billion a year on science and technology. This was after Liberals cut over 9% of the scientific budget. That was back in the time where they cut health care to the provinces, education to the provinces and cut science and technology straight out.

Today, this government spends more on science and research in this country than ever in the history of Canada. It is around $11 billion a year. It is in fact 13 billion new dollars since we took government.

Business of Supply May 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to stand up in this House as the representative for Cambridge and North Dumfries, but it is also a pleasure to speak to this motion put forward by my friend and colleague the member for Kingston and the Islands.

While the member may wish to gloss over the facts, I will use my time to clearly demonstrate that not only does our government support the work of scientists, but we continue to make record investments to ensure that high-quality science is available to Canadians and is for the benefit of Canadians. I am going to speak specifically to the topic of science at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. I would like to use the next few minutes to apply a bit of what has already been applied quite well by my colleague—scientific methodology—to the motion that has been put before us.

The member who put forward this motion would like members of this House and members of the public to believe that scientists face impediments when sharing their research. Once we review all the facts—of which many have come forward already and many more will come forward as this debate goes on—we find that the data does not support the member's motion. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

As my colleagues may be aware, one of the main methods scientists use for communicating their results to one another is through publication in peer-reviewed literature. Journals such as the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Nature, or those sponsored by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea provide a forum for reporting aquatic research and sharing the results of scientists' ideas with their peers. Through this interaction, science both is tested and inspires. It also focuses further work in areas where questions remain.

I do agree that this motion is conveniently put forward at a time of union negotiations, but contrary to what the member wants members of this House and the public to believe, the fact is that scientists at Fisheries and Oceans Canada produce a bevy of articles for these publications. In fact, in 2012 and 2013, scientists at Fisheries and Oceans alone published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles. I do not think even the member opposite has read that many. This is what they do in just a couple of years in one department. The list could be compiled, but I would recommend that my colleague simply visit the department's website where these studies are already posted for public information. I would encourage the member to do exactly that, to look up this website. However, I will warn the member that he will be embarrassed because he is also a scientist who clearly has not done his research.

Above and beyond this, the department publishes scientific documents for use by other scientists around the world and in Canada, by the public, and by the media. In 2012-13, Fisheries and Oceans produced 670 science publications documenting advice and research regarding Canada's fisheries and oceans. I would again encourage my colleague to visit the website of the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat to see the range of issues that are being tackled by government scientists and made fully available.

Canadian scientists are also regular participants, face to face, talking with one another, not just in hallways and laboratories—which we built, by the way—but also at scientific conferences around the world. In fact, last year scientists at Fisheries and Oceans alone participated in a wide range of meetings as collaborators, presenters, or simply representatives of this great country. Our government is committed to ensuring that our scientists are able to participate in these events that benefit our scientific knowledge, the capacity of the world, of course, and making the best use of taxpayer dollars. Canadians should expect nothing less.

Despite what the member, in this motion before us, would like members of this House and the public to believe, fisheries scientists have a solid record in presenting their findings and discussing their work with interested media. This is equally true of all science done at the federal level. When we look at all the facts, the truth becomes quite clear. When we apply scientific scrutiny to the member's motion, we clearly see that his hypothesis is false and is not supportable.

While ministers are the primary spokespersons for their departments, and the opposition would be the first to criticize otherwise, over the last year alone Fisheries and Oceans responded to 834 science-related media enquiries.

In addition to its area of expertise, Fisheries and Oceans always gets questions that may not be within its expertise, so it refers that journalist to another department. That should not be considered denying information. That is simply referring to the actual expert for the journalist's questions.

It is clear that our government is proud of the excellent work our scientists do, particularly in Fisheries and Oceans. They are supported and encouraged to speak about the interesting scientific aspects of their work.

So far in my evaluation of the motion, my colleague, a good friend, unfortunately is zero for two. His science teacher would not be impressed. It gets worse. The motion also calls for the creation of a new layer of bureaucracy—of course, it does.

As I have clearly demonstrated, scientists are already supported in providing their research to the public through multiple avenues. This new bureaucracy would be completely redundant and entirely unnecessary, but it is of course typical of Liberals who love to grow government, create big bureaucracies, and spend other people's money.

Again, looking at the evidence at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we see that our government has actively promoted the work of scientists through publishing their science, providing plain language summaries and even videos to provide Canadians with a clear picture of the work their tax dollars are supporting. We do not need a new bureaucratic layer and spending of more tax dollars to duplicate what is already existing, and existing well.

To give an example, the advice prepared for the minister, through the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, is published online. It is all there. Through this avenue, the public is able to review the basis for the science advice that informs decisions and program development by Fisheries and Oceans. If the public is interested in the results of a particular study, the department has summarized a large number of the current research projects in plain language, readily available for review, including review by the member.

I think it is clear that communicating science is a priority for this government, and our record is solid. The evidence presented today, with more to come, demonstrates quite clearly that an abundance of access to the work of government scientists is already being provided.

From the information and evidence before us, it is also clear to me that Fisheries and Oceans works daily to ensure the public is provided timely, accurate science—and that is very important, that the science is checked and it is accurate, objective, and complete. That is exactly what it does for the public.

In addition to this commitment to public information, we are also, as a government, ensuring that our scientists have the tools they need to carry out their important research. That includes rebuilding dozens of laboratories.

Just a week ago, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced up to $18 million in infrastructure investments for three major west coast science facilities: the Center for Aquaculture and Environmental Research, in West Vancouver; the Institute of Ocean Sciences, in Sidney; and the Pacific Biological Station, in Nanaimo.

As well, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans recently announced our government's commitment to work with partners, such as the Vancouver Aquarium and the Pacific Salmon Foundation, on collaboration at the West Vancouver lab.

We recognize, of course, that we are not the only game in town, that there are other players, and we want to pursue opportunities to make sure our scientists have the tools they need to do the best they can. That includes everything, all the way up to the Canadian Coast Guard, which has three vessels dedicated to scientific research and data collection. The list goes on and on.

One of the programs of which I am most proud that this government put forward was the knowledge infrastructure program, a few years ago, where this Conservative government put $2 billion into colleges and universities to improve the research capacity in our nation, in that regard.

I believe we have clearly shot down the member's motion. The hypothesis is false and it should be retracted. I cannot possibly support it.